Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Wed Apr 16 2008 - 15:03:06 EDT

I wonder if we have been trying to put too much of a historical and
causal interpretation on original sin. I think the common Hebrew term
translated "sin" means "error." /chat/, etc. The common Greek term is
/hamartia/, missing the mark. In other words, we are dealing with moral
imperfection, a necessary consequence of finitude. The Fall was the
ancient explanation for this consequence of finitude in keeping with the
broad tradition of a Golden Age.

This general failure is different from the deliberate act, /pasha/ and
/anomia/. I leave the connection between failure and lawlessness
unexplained here. I'd expect fireworks here, and more than George expects
from the first paragraph.
Dave (ASA)

On Wed, 16 Apr 2008 11:15:58 -0400 "George Murphy" <>
Yes, there are views on the "transmission" of Adam's sin that range from
a hard Augustinian hereditary view & a soft Pelagian exemplary view. (In
saying that I am not trying to characterize the views of Augustine or
Pelagius precisely.) For myself, I think that some combination is
appropriate, corresponding to the idea (P. Hefner) of the human as a
"symbiosis" of biology & culture.

But the question of transmission is really a 2d order one. It certainly
makes a difference in the way we try to develop a coherent theological
anthroplogy &, because of that, understanding of atonement. But it isn't
central. What is central is the reality & seriousness of our "sin of
origin" - i.e., the sinful state in which each one of us originates. &
that doesn't require an understanding of how that sin of origin is
related to original sin in the sense of the first human sin.

& yes, there are disagreements about that too. Failure to appreciate
that our original state is indeed sinful - i.e., that our sin of origin
is indeed sin - leads to various errors, such as works righteousness &
denial of infant baptism.

At which I will pause & wait for the firestorm to erupt.


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Received on Wed Apr 16 15:06:56 2008

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